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on this issue and i thank majority leader reid for assuring we have the opportunity to debate and consider these amendments and the very important issues that they reflect here today. i urge all of my colleagues to consider carefully and then support these amendments to the f.a.a. we cannot let the impending deadline distract us from the important opportunity to conduct oversight and implement responsible reforms. to simply be rushed to passage when we have known the deadline was approaching for years strikes me as an abrogation of our fundamental oversight responsibility. in my view, this chamber deserves a full and informed debate about our intelligence-gathering procedures and their potentially very real impact on americans' privacy rights, and we need it sooner rather than later. these amendments would allow us to have that conversation and to work together on a path that strikes the essential balance between privacy and security for the citizens of these united states. thank you. with that, madam president, i yield the floor. madam president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presid
the majority leader. mr. reid: new year's eve is fast approaching and for decades and decades the american people have watched the ball drop in times square. it's the countdown to midnight, the start of a new year. but this year, mr. president, the american people are waiting for the ball to drop but it's not going to be a good drop. because americans' taxes are approaching the wrong direction. come the first of this year, americans will have less income than they have today. if we go over the cliff, and it looks like that's where we're headed, mr. president, the house of representatives as we speak with four days left after today before the first of the year aren't here with the speaker having told them they'll give them 48 hours' notice. i can't imagine their consciences. they're out wherever they are, around the country, and we're here trying to get something done. they are not in washington, d.c. the house of representatives are not here. they couldn't even get the leadership together yesterday. they had to do it with a teleconference. the republican leadership republican leadership. i
adjourned yesterday, majority leader harry reid and minority leader mitch mcconnell debated the fiscal cliff and talked about negotiations surrounding the tax hikes and automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect in a few days. this is about 5 minutes -- 15 minutes. >> madam president, you'll excuse me if i'm a little frustrated at the situation we find ourselves in, but last night president obama called myself and the speaker and maybe others from hawaii and asked if there was something we could do to avoid the fiscal cliff. i say i'm a little frustrated, because we've been asking the president and the democrats to work with us on a bipartisan agreement for months, literallye for months. a plan that would simplify theod tax code, shrink the deficit, protect the taxpayers and grow the economy. but democrats consistently rejected those offers. the president chose instead to spend his time on the campaign trail. reelected. and congressional democrats sat on theirel hands. now republicans have bent over backwards. we stepped way, way out of our comfort zone. we wanted an agreement. w but w
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